Can A Heart Valve Repair Itself
No, a heart valve cant repair itself. Valve disease doesnt go away. It gets worse with time. As the disease gets worse, youll have more symptoms and your overall health will suffer. These changes often happen slowly, but they can also occur very quickly.
Depending on the type and extent of valve disease you have, you may be able to take medication for the short term. Surgery is the only effective long-term solution, and your healthcare provider will help determine when its time to pursue that option.
Can A Leaky Heart Valve Fix Itself
A leaky heart valve cannot repair itself. The only way of fixing a heart valve is through valve repair or replacement surgery. Sometimes, a leak that occurs due to an infection responds to antibiotic treatment.
Other medications and lifestyle changes also do not fix a leaky heart valve. However, they can keep symptoms under control and prevent further complications.
Does Mitral Valve Repair Shorten Your Life
Mitral valve repair can help you live a longer and healthier life. Like all heart surgeries, it carries risks. Most people survive the surgery. But some people dont.
The operative mortality, or the number of people who dont survive an isolated mitral valve repair procedure, is less than 1 in 1,000 at experienced centers.
If your provider recommends mitral valve repair, they believe the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks. Its important to talk with your provider about your specific risks for having surgery and your chances of survival. Also, ask your provider what you may expect if you dont have the surgery.
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What Is Mitral Valve Repair
Mitral valve repair is a treatment option for people who have mitral valve disease. It involves open-heart surgery to fix problems with your mitral valve. If you have severe mitral valve disease, your provider may recommend open-heart surgery to either repair or replace your damaged valve. Providers often recommend repair over replacement particularly when the valve leaks because there are more benefits and fewer risks in keeping your own valve. But for some people, replacement may be the best or only option.
If you need to have mitral valve repair, its important to learn why you need this surgery and what you can expect. Mitral valve repair surgery has risks, like all heart surgeries, but advances in technology continue to make this surgery safer and more effective.
Some people are candidates for procedures other than standard open-heart surgery. These include minimally invasive mitral valve repair and percutaneous interventions. Talk with your provider to see if youre a candidate for one of these procedures. Your provider will consider many factors like your age and overall health condition to decide the method of valve repair thats best for you.
Who Needs To Have Mitral Valve Repair
People who have mitral valve disease, particularly if the valve leaks, may need mitral valve repair surgery.
If you have a mild form of the disease, you may not need surgery. Your provider may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms. But your provider will keep a close eye on the situation. Theyll use echocardiogram tests to check your heart at regular intervals. You may need surgery later on to manage valve disease thats getting worse or damaging your heart.
You may need mitral valve repair if:
- You have severe regurgitation .
- The regurgitation causes symptoms.
- Your left ventricle isnt pumping out enough blood to your body .
- Your heart is enlarged.
- You have severe mitral valve stenosis with severe symptoms or a very narrow valve opening. But your provider may try other methods first, like balloon mitral valvotomy.
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What Are The Advantages Of Mitral Valve Repair
Mitral valve repair has several advantages over valve replacement. These include:
- Better chances of surviving the surgery and living a longer time afterward.
- Improved lifestyle.
- Better preservation of heart function.
- Lower risk of complications like stroke and endocarditis.
- No need for long-term use of blood thinners .
Your provider will recommend a repair, rather than a replacement, whenever possible. Repair is the better option for nearly everyone with mitral valve regurgitation. And its also better for some people with mitral valve stenosis.
But replacement surgery is a better option in some situations. It doesnt take as long as repair surgery, and its less complex to perform.
Talk with your provider about the option thats better for you.
What Is The Outlook For People Who Have Mitral Valve Repair
Mitral valve repair is a durable solution for treating mitral valve disease. Most people can go at least 10 years without needing another surgery. Almost as many can go 20 years. Most people dont need another mitral valve surgery after a successful repair.
Youll need an echocardiogram each year so your provider can check on your valve function. You may also need antibiotics before certain procedures to prevent endocarditis . Talk with your provider about all measures you need to take in the years following your surgery.
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Heart Valve Leakage Surgery And Exercise
Post-operation exercises are critical and they are essential for a patient in recovering from the surgery. The recovery period for a heart valve surgery is between 4 and 6 weeks. It becomes shorter if the person receives minimally invasive surgery. In such a case, the recovery period is faster, and the individual can return to routine life with less trauma.
Day one after the surgery includes getting up from the bed, strolling to the chair next to the bed, and performing exercises to the legs that help in strengthening the calf muscles. Day two after the surgery includes walking in the halls, eating, indulging in leg exercises to strengthen the calf muscles, and participate in routine activities such as brushing the hair and others. Day three includes walking through the halls for farther distances and increased time. Other events remain the same. Depending on the results, the doctor provides necessary instructions before discharging.
Tavi For Aortic Stenosis
This minimally invasive procedure is similar to placing a stent inside an artery. A catheter, a thin wire or tube, is threaded through an artery to the diseased valve and a new valve is placed inside the old valve. Some implanted valves are spring-loaded and expand themselves. Others are expanded using a balloon. Once the new valve is expanded, it pushes the old valve leaflets out of the way and the replacement valve takes over the job of regulating blood flow.
The TAVI procedure is performed using one of several approaches, allowing the cardiologist or surgeon to choose the best and safest way to access the valve. The two most common approaches are transfemoral and transapical:
- Transfemoral: enters through the femoral artery , which does not require a surgical incision in the chest, or
- Transapical: uses a minimally invasive surgical approach with a small incision in the chest and enters the heart through the tip of the left ventricle called the apex.
Leaky Heart Valve And Tricuspid Regurgitation
Many healthy adults have a slightly leaky tricuspid valve. This may be discovered incidentally, usually causes no problems, and does not require treatment or follow-up.
Moderate or severe tricuspid regurgitation may result from pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery. This high blood pressure has many possible causes. The main one is congestive heart failure.
Medicines may not be effective in treating tricuspid regurgitation. Diuretics, or water pills, can help relieve body swelling, or edema, thatâs due to congestive heart failure. The swelling is not always present, however.
The tricuspid valve may be repaired during surgery to correct other leaky heart valves. Surgical repair of the tricuspid valve generally works better than replacing it. Surgery to replace the tricuspid valve by itself is only recommended in rare cases.
How Is A Leaky Heart Valve Diagnosed
A doctor usually diagnoses a leaky heart valve by:
- Listening to the heart with a stethoscope for abnormal sounds such as a heart murmur
- Looking at the results of a heart ultrasound, also called an echocardiogram
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When Is Heart Valve Surgery Necessary
You may have been born with a valve problem or developed a leak, stiffness or narrowing in your valve.
Youll most likely need treatment for heart valve disease if youre having symptoms like:
Note: While medication can help improve your symptoms and quality of life, surgery is the only effective long-term option. Ask your healthcare provider when you should start considering heart valve surgery.
What Happens During Mitral Valve Repair
During mitral valve repair, your surgeon will fix one or more issues with your valve. There are several different techniques your surgeon can use. In general, your surgery will follow these steps.
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Will I Need To Take Blood
The need for anticoagulant medication after surgery depends on the type of surgery you have. The medication prevents blood clots from forming and causing problems with your heart valve. Currently, warfarin is the only approved blood thinner for mechanical heart valves.
If you have a mechanical heart valve, youll need to take this medication for the rest of your life.
If you have valve repair or a biological valve replacement, you may need to take this medication for several weeks after surgery, or maybe not at all.
You may need to take an anticoagulant for a condition not related to your heart valves. This medication also treats:
- An irregular heartbeat.
What Causes Aortic Valve Disease
The aortic valve may be abnormal at birth or become diseased over time, usually seen in older patients .
Congenital aortic valve disease
Patients with bicuspid aortic valves are born with them and are present in about 1 – 2 percent of the population.
Normal aortic valve
Bicuspid aortic valve
Instead of the normal three leaflets or cusps, the bicuspid aortic valve has only two. Without the third leaflet, the valve opening may not close completely and leak or not open completely and become narrowed or leak.
In many cases, bicuspid aortic valves may function normally for several years without requiring treatment.
About 25 percent of patients with bicuspid aortic valves may have some enlargement of the aorta above the valve. If it is greatly dilated, the aorta is known as being aneurismal.
Acquired aortic valve disease
With acquired aortic valve conditions, changes occur in the structure of the valve. Acquired aortic valve conditions include:
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What Is Involved In A Typical Recovery
A typical open-heart procedure takes from 4 to 6 hours, in some cases up to 8 hours patients are then maintained under general anesthesia for an additional 4 to 6 hours. If their heart is performing well and there is no excess bleeding, they can emerge from anesthesia and have their breathing tube removed. Most patients stay in the ICU until midday of the day after their procedure if they continue to do well, the drainage tubes in their chest can then be removed and they can be moved to a regular hospital bed later that day.
The typical hospital stay ranges from four to seven days. At that point, the vast majority of patients are able to go home, with support from the visiting nurse service, though about 15% to 20% may need to spend some time in a rehab facility for more extensive rehabilitation. After discharge, patients are advised not to drive for about 3 weeks and not to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for about 6 weeks. Beyond that point, they can resume whatever activities they wish to.
Patients tend to be surprised at how easy it is to control their pain. By the second day after their operation, most patients are comfortable without intravenous pain medication, taking only oral painkillers, and the overwhelming majority are discharged home on just Tylenol or Motrin.
In cases when minimally invasive surgery is appropriate, both the length of the operation and the recovery period are typically shorter.
Page reviewed on: Jun 26, 2018
Issues With The Heart Valve
The function of the heart is to move the blood through the heart in a single direction. If there is found valve leakage, then the valve leaflets are bound to fail in closing properly. Some blood is also regurgitated backwards in wrong direction.
In case of severe regurgitation or heart valve leakage, the heart needs to work harder for re-pumping blood through the heart and within the body. The heart is enlarged due to this overwork. If the person finds himself to get tired with his regular day to day activities, then he is probably experiencing one or even more such symptoms that are already mentioned. Then it is high time to consult the cardiologist. For instance, the person may find walking up the drive can be exhausting. Again, bending over for taking clothes from dryer could possibly cause pain in the chest. He might experience breathlessness due to the heat when outdoors. They all could be possible signs of disease in the heart valve.
Using a stethoscope, the general physician could listen to the patients heart. By listening to the heart, it is possible to know if it is a heart murmur. It is depending upon the murmur intensity that the general physician might refer the person to a qualified cardiologist for further investigation and treatment.
Is Surgery Better For Me Than Medication Alone
Medications often help during the first stages of valve disease, but they don’t work as well as the disease gets worse. You dont need to wait until your symptoms become unbearable before you have surgery. In some cases, its best to have surgery before symptoms start. The decision to have surgery is a major one thats based on your individual needs. It involves input from you, your cardiologist and your surgeon.
What Is The Recovery Like For Mitral Valve Repair
Recovery from valve repair surgery usually takes four to eight weeks. Some people may need longer.
If you have a surgery coming up, youre probably wondering what life will be like after your mitral valve repair. You know youll need to spend some time in the hospital, and you might be planning on cardiac rehab. But what comes next?
The short answer is that recovery looks different for everyone. Your neighbor mightve bounced back quickly and felt as good as new a month later. But maybe an old friend told you she didnt feel back to normal for many months. And even then, it felt like a new normal.
If it takes you longer, its OK. Dont compare your recovery to what others experience, and dont push yourself to feel better right away.
Several factors impact your recovery. These include:
- The severity of heart disease before your surgery. Itll take you longer to get your strength back if you had reduced heart function.
- Your general health going into surgery. Were you very active? Or did health issues make it hard for you to get around? Conditions like heart failure and kidney failure can also make recovery a slower process.
- The surgical method. If you had a median sternotomy, itll take six to eight weeks for your breastbone to get strong again. Smaller incisions heal faster.
After youre home from the hospital, set small and manageable goals. Get enough rest as you slowly return to your normal routine.
Your provider will tell you when its safe for you to:
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What Is The Outlook For People With A Leaking Heart Valve
Talk to your healthcare provider about prognosis in your particular case. The outlook for a person with heart valve leakage depends on many factors, including:
- How long the leak has been occurring.
- How severe the leak is.
- Which heart valve is involved.
- Presence of any heart damage.
- Your bodys response to treatment.
- Your overall health.
First Uk Patient Has Pioneering Procedure To Fix Leaking Heart Valve
A cutting-edge procedure to repair leaking heart valves without the need for open-heart surgery has been carried out at Royal Brompton Hospital in a UK first. The innovative technique uses a piece of equipment known as the Harpoon device to repair a leaking mitral valve through a small incision in the chest, replacing the need for major conventional surgery.
Around one in 50 adults in Britain is thought to have mitral valve disease. Mitral regurgitation occurs when the mitral valve collapses and fails to close properly. As a result, blood flows backwards through the valve when the heart contracts, compromising the function of the heart. The condition can cause breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure and death.
Mr Neil Moat, consultant cardiac surgeon at Royal Brompton Hospital, performed the new technique for the first time in the UK as part of a new clinical trial, with the help of imaging colleague Dr Alison Duncan.
Repairing a leaking mitral valve usually requires open-heart surgery, which involves making a large incision to the chest and dividing the breastbone. Patients require the support of cardiopulmonary bypass, commonly known as a heart-lung machine, so the operation can take place while the heart is not beating.
The new method takes half as long to perform, is thought to halve the time patients spend in hospital and leads to shorter overall recovery times. It is like fixing broken strings of a parachute.
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